A conspiracy theory asserting 5G can spread the coronavirus is gaining publicity on social media. The myth allegedly gained traction when a Belgian doctor associated the “dangers” of 5G technology to the virus in an interview in January.
Facebook group Stop5G Australia (with over 31,700 members) has numerous posts linking the pandemic to 5G technology.
Marketing such misinformation not only wrong, it’s critical.
The Guardian reported that since Thursday at a minimum 20 mobile phone masts across the UK have been set ablaze or otherwise vandalized. Mobile network representative MobileUK issued an open letter stating:
We have undergone cases of vandals setting fire to mobile masts, disturbing critical infrastructure, and spreading forged information suggesting a relation between 5G and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrities – adhere to what you know
Many people and outlets have rushed to demystify this myth, including federal minister for communications, cyber safety and the arts Paul Fletcher. But countless groups and public figures continue to disseminate it.
Singer Keri Hilson and actor Woody Harrelson have both shared content with fans suggesting a relation between 5G and COVID-19.
This tweet by someone with 4M followers is straight from the most dangerous depths of tin foil hat land.
☑️ COVID-19 is a virus spread by person-to-person contact, not radio waves.
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) March 16, 2020
Stop5G Australia affiliates have claimed the Ruby Princess cruiseliner’s to 600 reported infections and 11 deaths is for the reason that cruises are “radiation saturated.” That’s incorrect.
While cruise passengers can use roaming wifi services on board, these are not 5G services. Maritime cruises have yet to employ 5G technology.
One appeal is calling on the Australia government to halt 5G’s rollout because the technology can allegedly “negatively affect your immune system” (a statement for which there is just zero evidence). It has gotten more than 27,000 signatures.
How 5G radio signals work
The dissimilarity between 5G and previous generations of mobile services (4G, 3G) is that the latter utilizes lower radio frequencies (in the 6 gigahertz range), while 5G uses frequencies in the 30–300 gigahertz range.
In the 30-300 gigahertz range, there’s not sufficient energy to remove electrons or break chemical bonds when in contact with human tissue. Therefore, this range is referred to as “non-ionizing” electromagnetic radiation.
It’s permitted by the federal government’s Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency as not having the harmful health effects of more strong radiation.
Radiation can get into contact with the skin, for instance, when we place a 5G mobile to our ear to make a call. This is when we’re most revealed to non-ionizing radiation. But this contact is well below the recommended safety level.
5G radiation can’t infiltrate the skin, or allow a virus to enter the skin. There is no sign 5G radio frequencies cause or worsen the spread of the coronavirus.
Moreover, the protein shell of the virus is unable of hijacking 5G radio signals. This is because radiation and viruses are present in different forms that do not cooperate. One is a biological occurrence and the other occurs on the electromagnetic spectrum.
5G radio waves are known as millimeter waves, because their wavelength is measured in mms. Because these waves are small, 5G cell towers need to be comparatively close together – about 250 metres apart. They are organized as a collection of small cells (a cell is an area enveloped by radio signals).
For 5G to encompass a larger geographic area, more base stations are needed in contrast to 4G. This increase in the quantity of base stations, and their nearness to humans, is one factor that may stimulate unfounded worries about 5G’s potential health consequences.
Your phone may be harmful, but its radiation isn’t
COVID-19 spreads through small droplets discharged from the mouth or nose of an infected person when they spit, cough, talk, sneeze or exhale. Transmission happens when the droplets come into contact with the nose, eyes or mouth of a healthy person.
Thus if an infectious person speaks through a phone held close to their mouth, sufficient infectious droplets may settle on its surface to make it able of spreading the virus. This is why it’s not sensible to share mobiles during a pandemic. You should also frequently disinfect your mobile.
Why are we having this discussion?
To many of us, it’s obvious a human virus can’t spread through radio signals, and such treachery may be linked to a wider disbelief of the government in general.
Addressing this myth is serious as the property is now being damaged, and persons attacked. Physical and verbal terrorizations to broadband engineers can be added to a long list of attacks on health workers.
At an age, when millions are depending on fast internet to study and work from home, vital telecommunications infrastructure is in danger of being destroyed. Conspiracy theories have encouraged arson attacks on 5G towers in Belfast, Birmingham and Liverpool.
Youtube has announced it will dedicate resources to removing content connecting 5G technology to COVID-19.
The announcement came after criticism were made at one video, published on March 18 (and viewed over 668,000 times), in which an American doctor claims wrongly that Africa is less affected by COVID-19 because it is not a 5G region. The video continues to appear online at the time of publishing this article.